Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Media Release: ARCWP Ordination of Georgia Walker, A Light Bearer for Peace, Justice and Equality, in Kansas City, MO on January 3rd, Feast of the Epiphany

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min. (Media)
(note change in my email address: Add 1)

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan,

Georgia Walker, 816.572.3453

On Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, at 2 p.m., the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain Georgia Walker the first woman priest in Kansas City, MO. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota, FL. The ceremony will take place at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church, 3800 Troost Ave., Midtown Kansas City. All are welcome. A reception will follow in the church hall.

We celebrate the glory of our God arising in this community, Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan writes, “as we ordain Georgia Walker, a prophetic woman of peace and a leader who has worked with justice seekers from all races, ages and creeds.”

Georgia chose this day for her ordination because she entered into the Sisters of St. Joseph on the Feast of the Epiphany, so it has many special memories for her. Georgia writes: “It feels special to me because of the strong image of light...not just a reflective kind of light marking the incarnation of Jesus as God's LOVE in the world, but a kind of luminosity shining out from us as the embodiment of the Divine in our world. As co-heirs and co-creators, we are compelled to bring hope and dignity to all without exception, especially those who are on the margins of our church and society.”

A native of Kansas City, in 1985, Georgia Walker experienced a major conversion and became a Roman Catholic.  For twelve years she was a Sister of St. Joseph during which time she pursued course work for a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis.  She also became involved in the ministry of working with men and women coming out of prison as Co-Director for the Center for Women in Transition and as a Re-Entry Specialist at Catholic Charities.

She has been active in practicing restorative justice methods and utilizing mediation and conflict resolution. After a three-year stint of working for a coalition of 85 agencies serving the homeless in Kansas City as a Program Specialist and accountant, she returned to a ministry of direct service.

She is now the co-founder and Executive Director of Journey to New Life which is an agency that specializes in serving homeless men and women who suffer from addictions, mental illness and chronic health conditions as they are coming back from prison. Using what is known as the “housing first” model of treatment, individuals are provided with a safe permanent home and wrap around services to help them chart and follow their own journey to a new life. Over the last twenty years she has done accounting for numerous parishes, schools and social agencies. Georgia has always been a consummate political activist working for justice, equality and peace. She currently serves on the Board of Peace Works-Kansas City and often engages in nonviolent civil disobedience and volunteers at a local Catholic Worker house.

She was ordained a deacon in July 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Currently, she is working on the completion of a Doctor of Ministry Degree.

Most recently, Georgia’s non-violent, active civil disobedience has involved “crossing the line” at the old nuclear bomb parts plant in South Kansas City to protest the toxic waste dump that has been left there when Honeywell and the Federal government opened a new bomb plant further out in the countryside. Hundreds of workers have either died or are suffering from major chronic illnesses due to exposure to toxic chemicals at that site. The dump has now been turned over to a private developer to clean up the toxic waste. For this action she was convicted of misdemeanor trespassing and was put on one year of unsupervised probation by the Municipal Court of Kansas City. The next day she “crossed the line” at Whiteman Air Force Base with Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Kathy Kelly, to protest the drone warfare being controlled from that site. It was their intent to deliver two loaves of bread to break bread with the commander of the base and present him with a criminal indictment for the illegal activities being conducted at the base. For this action Georgia was convicted of misdemeanor trespassing and was put on one year of supervised probation by a Federal court. At least for the next year, she does not plan to cross any more lines!

Georgia plans to minister as a priest with men and women in five Missouri state prisons located in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese. In addition, she hopes to begin meeting with individuals in Kansas City who are interested in creating a local inclusive community where all will be welcome at the table and all will be co-equal in their participation in liturgy, service and governance.

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